In life we do not grow and develop as a result of our successes. Instead, our growth and resilience is exhibited in the face of impossible challenges. In order to learn, we must first accept the fact that failure is inevitable, but how you cope with the defeat determines the future of your journey.
My journey began when my parents decided to immigrate to the United States, in order to escape a country that was ridden with poverty and violence. Growing up as the child of two undocumented immigrants, I was tasked with the responsibility of learning a new language all on my own without the assitance of my parents to fall back on. This empident in my lack of English comprehension was crystal clear upon entering the 2nd grade. Even though the class was structured to be a bilingual course Ms.Gonzalez, my teacher, had decided to start speaking almost entirely English by the second month of the school year. While the rest of my peers were able to express their thoughts on paper, I was incapable of constructing a cohesive sentence. As soon as my teacher handed out the first major assignment, an essay about ourselves, I knew that I would be unable to turn in the assignment, due to my lack of English abilities. As a result, I was placed in time out and was not able to participate in recess for that day. As I sat there looking at my classmates full of joy and happiness, I couldn’t help but feel that I was a failure due to my inability to properly communicate. By the end of the 1st semester, it was clearly evident that I was struggling to adjust to a new language. Since I was in danger of failing ELAR (English Language Arts and Reading) my teacher asked to meet with my parents after winter break.
During the conference, my teacher recommended that I stay inside during recess and after school to work on my English and grammatical comprehension. If I didn’t, then the worst case scenario would be that I would fail the English TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test, the test needed in order to be promoted to the next grade level, and would have needed to repeat the whole school year all over again.While most of my friends would be outside playing soccer or swinging on the playground, I would stay inside and review flashcards that would test my vocabulary skills. As I sat in an isolated area of the classroom, I felt like I was trapped in a box with all my thoughts struggling to be formed. I had started to lose hope and faith in my ability to comprehend the English language, but I knew that my parents had struggled through so much trauma and pain for me to be defeated by the rules of subject verb agreement and conjugations. My teacher noticed that I had started to lose motivation in our tutoring sessions, so she suggested that instead of utilizing the same medium of learning that we always rehearsed I should focus on reading.
As soon as I started to read the sentences on the page, and stare at the brightly colored pictures around the edges and borders, I yearned for more knowledge that was stored within the pages of these books. As I delved deeper and deeper into the pages of books, I noticed that my vocabulary and comprehension were improving far greater than Ms.Gonzalez or I could have expected. My increased understanding of the English language allowed me to see the power that education has, so I continued to read every night before the TAKS test as a way to supplement my growth. Literature was the pathway for me to expand the horizons of my knowledge and understanding of the world around me.
When it came down to take our placement exams, I felt confident in my abilities to succeed because I knew that I had already put myself to work diligently on improving myself. Once I received my score of a 92 on the examination I knew that all the trials and tribulations I faced were worth it. When it came time for the end of the year ceremony, my teacher nominated me for the most improved award for ELAR and I won it. As I stood there holding my certificate, I could see the look on her face because she knew that my improvement was an award that we both earned.